Region in need of proper wastewater management system
November 29, 2013
Region in need of proper wastewater management system

Approximately 85 per cent of wastewater that is produced in the Caribbean ends up in the marine environment without being treated.{{more}}

This is one of the many facts that were highlighted to journalists of the region, during a three-day workshop in Guyana this week, where they were reminded of the role that they play in educating persons about the importance of wastewater management.

This workshop was made possible by the Global Environmental Facility (gef), under the Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW).

During the opening ceremony on Tuesday, project coordinator for CReW Denise Forrest stressed that untreated water is threatening to various sectors, including health, fisheries and tourism.

“We, as a region, mainly small island states…we have to change the way we do business,” Forrest said. “The CReW project is really one to change the storyline. Fundamentally, what we’re trying to do is transform the sector. We cannot transform it without changing things and we can’t transform it without changing our thinking.

“The media has a platform that can contribute to this, through the target audiences [they] can reach”.

In her remarks, the project coordinator encouraged journalists to change their views and by extension, the views of the public, to see wastewater positively, in an effort to effect change.

“We want to begin to view wastewater as a resource. When you look at wastewater, there is a nexus between energy, growth and nutrients,” she said.

“Wastewater can be used to produce energy, it can be used for water; it has nutrients in it. It is viable…but we can’t use water without treating it”.

Furthermore, Forrest stressed that it is CReW’s aim for persons to continue to implement a change in the handling of wastewater, even after the project is completed.

“We’re hoping that you’ll continue to tell the story long after CReW is gone and to keep the fire…under the feet of those it needs to be kept under,” she said.

CReW is a four-year project which began in 2011. The project aims to establish financial mechanisms that will aid in the handling of wastewater, develop policy and legal framework and to disseminate factual information on the topic.

While at the workshop, journalists were informed on the progress of the project and discussed topics which included challenges in reporting on wastewater and environmental issues, and how to provide better coverage for such issues.

The implementing agents for the project are (gef), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The workshop began on November 26 and ended yesterday.